Tuesday, January 03, 2023

2023.01.03 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 76

Read Psalm 76

Questions from the Scripture text: Into whose hands was this Psalm committed (superscript)? With what instructions? Who penned it? What sort of Psalm is it? Where is God known (Psalm 76:1)? What does verse 1 say about His Name? Where is His dwelling (Psalm 76:2)? What is the dwelling called? By what two names is the city called? What has He done there (Psalm 76:3)? What comparison does Psalm 76:4 make? What has happened to whom in Psalm 76:5a? In verse 5b? Who have been unable to do what? How did this happen (Psalm 76:6a)? What else did this rebuke cause to happen (verse 6b)? What is to be done with the Lord (Psalm 76:7a)? What does verse 7b–c ask? What do Psalm 76:8-9 speak about in the past tense? What does God do at the judgment? What will praise God (Psalm 76:10a)? What will God do with it (verse 10b)? What does Psalm 76:11a say to do? Who should do what to Whom (verse 11b)? What will God do to whom (Psalm 76:12)?

What does God show when devastating arrogant rulers? Psalm 76 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these twelve verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God devastates arrogant rulers in time to remind us that He will cataclysmically do so at the judgment. 

God is known among His peoplePsalm 76:1-3. Almost certainly, the event behind this Psalm is Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem in 2 Kings 19. By his spokesman, the Assyrian king had mocked Yahweh as being like other gods whose people he had defeated. But the Lord declares and executes the death of his army, and 185,000 corpses appear in the morning. Adding injury to insult, it is while worshiping in the temple of his own impotent god that he is murdered by his own sons. 

Thus, it was at Jerusalem and among His people that God distinguished Himself from the idols of men. Salvation is from the Jews. And it would be at Jerusalem that God Himself made Himself known in Jesus Christ, supremely so in the death and resurrection of Christ!

Psalm 76:1Psalm 76:4-6. The Assyrian army was fearsome, and there have been others like it throughout history. But how instantly and completely the Lord defeated them! He Who will at last destroy all of His enemies with one stroke of the sword of His mouth has given glimpses of this in history. One little word shall fell all of His enemies.

Judgment at the end of timePsalm 76:7-12. Kiss the Son lest you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little (Psalm 76:7c, cf. Psalm 2:10–12)! Those who fear the Lord (Psalm 76:7a), who commit their cause to Him, are the only ones who will be left standing (verse 7b). Here, the cataclysmic judgment is so sure as to be spoken of already in the past tense (Psalm 76:8-9). 

If it is not a day of deliverance for us in Christ (Psalm 76:9), then it shall be a day of doom (Psalm 76:12). Which is it for you, dear reader? How would it be with you if Christ appeared in the sky this moment, and the day about which this Psalm speaks has come?

Our God shall be greatly praised in the last day. Men who are rightly indignant against the wicked and tyrannical will find their indignation against the wicked turning into the praise of the God Who judges them (Psalm 76:10a). Our wrath is not great enough, however. We do not know or hate sin enough. This is one reason why we are not to attempt to repay evil ourselves. Vengeance belongs to God, and it is part of the glory with which He girds Himself to be full and complete in His wrath (verse 10b). 

Therefore, whether we are responding to moments of deliverance now, or to that great day of deliverance to come, shall we not commit ourselves to the praise and service of our God? We ought to vow unto Him every good and right service and gift (Psalm 76:11). In view of His mercies, let us offer our very bodies continually as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is only being reasonable in our response to Him (cf. Romans 12:1).

What judgments has the Lord executed in history? Perhaps even in your own lifetime or your own life? What does this remind you about the day that is coming? How have you been responding to Him?

Sample prayer:  Our gracious God, come now and be known among Your people in the Lord Jesus Christ. Display Your all-surpassing glory and excellence and make us to taste of Your deliverance. We look forward to the day that You gird Yourself with wrath, and the cry goes out, “Who can stand before the wrath of the Lamb?!” Grant unto us to kiss the Son now, that we may be among those blessed who put their trust in Him, we ask in His great Name, JESUS, Amen!

Suggested songs: ARP76 “God Is Truly Known in Judah” or TPH76 “God, the Lord, Is Known in Judah” 

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